Monday, February 11, 2008


...this has become the embodying word for my personal substantiation of the infamous German bureaucratic machine. The word itself refers to the formatting requirements for identification photos (required for everything from a passport to a subway pass); the proper contrast, color, size, and ratio between facial features, etc. compatible with facial recognition software.

It struck me as a fitting ersatz symbol for the Amt (=bureau) experience, having once politely asked a state employee for specifically WHY my photo was not suitable, and receiving only murmuring about the size, and then a sort of chanting of the word as though it were the German Standards Organization (DIN) mantra: biometrisch, biometrish, biometrisch...

At any rate, this occurred to me as I was collecting my thoughts to summarize an update the paper trail toward my apprenticeship and eventual school registration. To hold your attention, I'll be breif:

A week+ after dropping my application for a work permit in the foreigner bureau mailbox (they were mysteriously closed for over a week without explanation) I tried calling them up (4th time is the charm) for an update, only to learn my application had been forwarded to the neighboring state for a week to 14 days of processing because my employer is located JUST over the border to the north of Hamburg.

On another bureaucracy note, in attempting to register with the finance bureau in order to be paid at all for my disappointing Amsterdam gig, I entered the babel of Amt-speak, the German equivalent of the legal language you find in the fine print of warranties or software agreements. After an hour of deciphering with my resident native speaker, the forms remained eerily ink-free. I now have a long list of questions for woman at the Amt, if I could only find the time to call (their hours are different every day).

Press your thumbs for me that all goes well in the next couple weeks.

(a windmill and one of many thatched roof farmhouses about a 10min bike ride from where we live -- taken weekend before last)


Blogger Becky said...

Wow Andrew - definitely good luck with all of that! Bureaucracy sure sucks. On a side note, I'm off to Argentina in two weeks. While Raja has had to suffer through two separate costly visa applications for Argentina and a side trip to Uruguay I've been bureaucracy-free. What irony...

Glad to see that you're sticking with the blog - I'm faithfully reading it :)

9:39 AM  
Blogger The One With Many Names said...

Thumbs pressed!

11:57 AM  
Blogger J said...

“All there is to thinking is seeing something noticeable, which makes you see something you weren't noticing, which makes you see something that isn't even visible.” - Leo Strauss

thumbs pressed

10:27 AM  
Blogger dlab said...

Mein Gott!
I hope that things turned out for you, and that you had a happy birthday at the very least.

2:47 PM  

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